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August 1963

You're a coward, John told himself. When are you going to grow up and start acting like a man? You had the chance. You had the chance to make things right. Make things like you want them.

Ah, but, that's the million dollar question, isn't it? What do you want?

He'd been standing at the bedroom window for the last fifteen minutes; ever since he'd watched Ruby storm her way out of the hotel, down the path and turning to the left, out of view. She hadn't looked back.

He'd stayed standing at the window, just in case she returned. She hadn't told Cynthia. He supposed he should be grateful for that. Oh, then perhaps it would have been better if she just had.

Yeah, done your dirty work for you, eh? Said that annoying voice inside his head.

The bedroom door creaked as someone pushed it open. He turned sharply, thinking momentarily it might be Ruby, and then realising how stupid that was.

Cynthia came in, carrying the baby basket with Julian inside. She set it down carefully on the bed. John crossed to look down at the baby. He'd grown. Even in the short time John had been away, he'd grown noticeably.

'It's a lovely day outside,' Cyn said from beneath the brim of a large straw sun hat. 'Paul was just showing me the gardens at the front of the hotel. There's such beautiful roses.'

Paul. Saved the day again. What would he do without him? That will be why Ruby didn't meet Cynthia on her way out.

'Julian's all restless,' Cyn continued. 'I thought I would take him down to the beach. Get some fresh air.'

'Okay.' He put his hand down to his baby son and stroked his cheek with two fingers. Julian gurgled happily.

Cynthia looked up at him. She looked quite pretty in her sun dress and enormous straw hat. There was a pink rosiness in her cheeks. John had to smile. 'You can come with us, if you like,' she asked charily.

'You know I can't,' John said softly and with genuine regret. A day with her and the baby were probably just what he should do. Push the memory of Ruby and all that as far from his mind as he could. He would manage it too. Before yesterday he hadn't thought of Ruby in ages. Until she waltzed in here. Upsetting everything. Now it all felt like it happened just five minutes ago.

'I'm sure you could if you wanted to,' Cyn replied, sounding hurt.

'It's not that I don't want to...'

'Yes, of course you do,' she replied, sarcastically.

'Cyn, please, lets not fight. You've only just got here.' He came around the side of the bed and pulled her closer to him, resting his hands on her waist.

She pursed her lips. 'Okay,' she said with a short sigh. 'Perhaps we'll see you later then?'

'Course you will. Come to the show if you want.'

'What, with this little one in tow?' She asked, shaking John off and turning to lift Julian out of the carry cot.

'Alright, after then. We'll do something special,' John said, smoothing Julian's wispy hair down and then leaning in to kiss Cyn. She kissed him back but then pulled away. He moved to kiss her again but she shook her head, hitching Julian up on her hip.

'Later,' she said softly.

* * *

Four Years Ago

'Are you alright, love? You look like you've lost a crown and found a sixpence.'

'Hmm?' Ruby looked up to find Spencer standing over her holding an armful of papers. He smiled kindly.

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